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Top 5 Challenges of Social Data Integration, Part 3

Today’s companies understand the importance of listening to their customers and value social media’s role in the listening process.  But blending social data into the mix of business data you are already managing is nearly impossible if the data is not consistent, clean and formatted in a way that allows you to slice, dice and pivot on the aspects that are meaningful to you.   In our last post we looked at the two more challenges businesses face when looking at integrating social data into their current systems—the processing the volumes of data to make it useful and having the technical expertise and requirements to build and maintain the systems required to accomplish these tasks.  Let’s take a look at the next challenge.

4. Data Quality, Quantity and Enrichment 

How many times have you heard the saying, “it’s the quality, not the quantity, that counts”?  When it comes to social media data integration, both ends of the spectrum apply.  The social data that is integrated into existing systems must be high quality, validated and consistent or enterprises risk polluting business applications downstream.  As we discussed earlier, social data comes from a diverse ecosystem of sites in an unstructured format.

This data requires parsing, cleansing, standardizing, validating, de-duplicating and enhancement with additional metadata prior to incorporating it into your existing systems.  And of course, to get the big picture view, to capture every selling, servicing or learning opportunity businesses want all of the data.  Not just a sampling, and not just Facebook or Twitter.  No, they want all of the data possible, from all of the social channels, delivered in the most refined format possible.  It sounds like an intimidating amount of work because it is!  But it’s also one of the greatest assets that the Visible Intelligence® platform brings to the table.

Data enrichments including sentiment, geography, media type, author influence, demographics, psychographics and custom enrichments, tags, turn a heap of social data in social listening platform into a social analytics powerhouse.  Sophisticated indexing and search capabilities combined with robust filtering and sorting tools allow businesses to sift and sort through data with unprecedented speed and accuracy.  When actionable content is identified it can be immediately handled on the spot and the entire enterprise will be updated.

Coming Up Next…

Four challenges down, one to go.

We’ve looked at 3 of the 5 challenges so far and one important fact is coming to light—to be successful, businesses need to spend the majority of their time focusing on their core competencies which usually do not include data collection, warehousing and complicated integration of social media APIs.   If you aren’t in the printing business and you need a fancy brochure, you’re going to hire a printer.  Social media isn’t any different.  Particularly when it comes to the complex world of data collection and normalization.  Stay tuned for the next post when we take a look at more challenges.

 

~Jackie Kmetz

Social Intelligence Crusader

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